Sunday, August 28, 2011
Price strikes gold with fastball against Jays
David Price set a single-game Tampa Bay Rays record with 14 strikeouts in a 12-0 victory Sunday over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Price's 14 strikeouts passed the previous Rays record of 13 set by James Shields earlier this season and first done by Scott Kazmir in 2007. Price's strikeout total finished one shy of the most by an American League pitcher this season. Jered Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels struck out 15 -- also against the Blue Jays -- on April 10.
The most strikeouts in a game this season belongs to Cliff Lee of the Philadelphia Phillies, who struck out 16 against the Atlanta Braves in seven innings on May 6.
Price, who just turned 26 years old on Friday, flirted with the possibility of nearing the MLB record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game of 20 held by Roger Clemens (done twice in 1986 and 1996) and Kerry Wood in 1998.
Price struck out 10 batters through four innings, which was one more than what Clemens had in his two 20-strikeout games and was two more than what Wood had.
Price proceeded to strike out two more batters in the fifth, which kept him on pace with what Clemens had and was one ahead of Wood's pace. However, Price did not strike out a batter in the sixth inning, the only frame in which a batter did not go down on strikes.
But the left-hander finished with two more in his seventh and final inning of the game. He became the fourth pitcher this season to record 14 strikeouts in seven or fewer innings.
Price became the fourth pitcher to record at least 14 strikeouts on the road against the Blue Jays and the first since Bartolo Colon on May 29, 1998. The first to do it was Mark Langston in 1988 at Exhibition Stadium, the Blue Jays original home from 1977 until 1989.
So how was Price able to rack up so many strikeouts? He relied on what he always does, the fastball. He picked up 10 of his 14 strikeouts on pitches ending on the fastball. It's his third start this season in which he had 10 strikeouts with his fastball. No other starter in baseball even has one. This season, Price has 128 strikeouts ending on the fastball, 30 more than Colon, who is second with 98.
Blue Jays hitters swung 32 times against the pitch and put only four in play, the fewest fastballs ever put in play in a start against Price with a minimum of 20 swings.